Alcmaeon


Alcmaeon
/alk mee"euhn/, n. Class. Myth.
a son of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle who commanded the second expedition against Thebes. He killed his mother for sending his father to certain death and was driven mad by the Furies.

* * *

or Alcmeon

In Greek mythology, the son of the seer Amphiaraus.

The seer had been persuaded by his wife to join the expedition of the Seven Against Thebes. On realizing that he would die, he charged Alcmaeon and his other sons with avenging his death. Alcmaeon led the sons of the seven in the destruction of Thebes and then obeyed his father's injunction to kill his mother, a crime for which the Furies drove him mad. He was purified by King Phegeus of Psophis, whose daughter he married but subsequently killed. Following the advice of an oracle, he settled on an island at the mouth of the Achelous River, where he married again, but was killed by Phegeus and his sons.

* * *

also spelled  Alcmeon,  

      in Greek legend, the son of the seer Amphiaraus and his wife Eriphyle. When Amphiaraus set out with the expedition of the Seven Against Thebes, which he knew would be fatal to him, he commanded his sons to avenge his death by slaying Eriphyle (who had been bribed by Polyneices with the necklace of Harmonia to persuade her husband to fight) and by undertaking a second expedition against Thebes. After leading the Epigoni (the sons of the Seven) in the destruction of Thebes, Alcmaeon carried out his father's injunctions by killing his mother, but as a punishment he was driven mad and pursued by the Erinyes (goddesses of vengeance) from place to place.

      On his arrival at Psophis in Arcadia, he was purified by its king, Phegeus, whose daughter Arsinoë (or Alphesiboea) he married, making her a present of the fatal necklace and the robe of Harmonia, which brought misfortune to all who possessed them. The land was cursed with barrenness, and an oracle declared that Alcmaeon would not find rest until he reached a spot on which the sun had never shone at the time he slew his mother. Such a spot he found at the mouth of the Achelous River, where an island had recently been formed. There he settled and, forgetting his wife, married Callirrhoë, the daughter of the river god. Callirrhoë coveted the necklace, and Alcmaeon, having returned to get it from his wife, was killed by Arsinoë's brothers (Phegeus's sons). On Alcmaeon's death, Callirrhoë prayed that her two young sons might grow to manhood at once and avenge their father. Her prayer was granted, and her sons, Amphoterus and Acarnan, slew Phegeus. After his death Alcmaeon was worshiped at Thebes; his tomb was at Psophis. His story was the subject of the modern parody “A Fragment of a Greek Tragedy,” by A.E. Housman.

▪ Greek philosopher and physiologist
also spelled  Alcmeon  
flourished 6th century BC

      Greek philosopher and physiologist of the academy at Croton (now Crotone, southern Italy), the first person recorded to have practiced dissection of human bodies for research purposes. He may also have been the first to attempt vivisection. Alcmaeon inferred that the brain was the centre of intelligence and that the soul was the source of life. Applying the Pythagorean principle of cosmic harmony between pairs of contraries, he posited that health consists in the isonomy (equilibrium) of the body's component contraries (e.g., dry-humid, warm-cold, sweet-bitter), thus anticipating Hippocrates' similar teaching.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alcmaeon — Alcmaeon, Alkmaion, Alcmeon, or Alkmaon may refer to: * Alcmaeon (mythology), one of the Epigoni * Alcmaeon (King of Athens), the last king of Athens * Alcmaeon, son of Megacles, 6th century BC commander during the Cirrhaean War * Alcmaeon of… …   Wikipedia

  • Alcmaeon — ALCMAEON, ŏnis, Gr. Ἀλκμαίων, ονος, (⇒ Tab. XXV.) des Amphiaraus und der Eriphyle Sohn. Diod. Sicul. lib. IV. c. 7. Er wurde von den Epigonen in dem andern Zuge wider Theben auf des Orakels Befehl zu ihrem Oberhaupte erwählet, wobey er sich… …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • ALCMAEON — I. ALCMAEON Amphiarâi vatis, et Eriphyles fil. Huic pater, ad bellum proficisci coactus, nequitiam Eriphyles in se aperuit, eique futurae mortis suae vindictam reliquit; qui defunctô patre memor praecepti, ut in patrem pietatem servaret, impius… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Alcmaeon — (fl.450bc) Greek philosopher and physician Alcmaeon was born in Croton (now Crotone in Italy). Details of his work come from the surviving fragments of his book and through references by later authors, including Aristotle. He was probably… …   Scientists

  • Alcmaeon — /alk mee euhn/, n. Class. Myth. a son of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle who commanded the second expedition against Thebes. He killed his mother for sending his father to certain death and was driven mad by the Furies …   Useful english dictionary

  • Alcmaeon of Croton — Alcmaeon (Gr. polytonic|Ἀλκμαίων) of Croton (in Magna Græcia) was one of the most eminent natural philosophers and medical theorists of antiquity. His father s name was Pirithus, and he is said by some to have been a pupil of Pythagoras, and must …   Wikipedia

  • Alcmaeon, son of Megacles — Alcmaeon (Gr. polytonic|Ἀλκμαίων), son of the Megacles who was guilty of sacrilege with respect to the fol­lowers of Cimon, was invited by Croesus, king of Lydia, to Sardis in consequence of the services he had rendered to an embassy sent by… …   Wikipedia

  • Alcmaeon (King of Athens) — Alcmaeon (Greek: polytonic|Ἀλκμαίων) was the last Archon of Athens, and member of the storied Alcmaeonid family. In 753 BC he was succeeded by Charops, the first archon with a limited term of office of ten years …   Wikipedia

  • Alcmaeon (mythology) — In Greek mythology, Alcmaeon, or Alkmáon, was the son of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle. As one of the Epigoni, he was a leader of the Argives who attacked Thebes, taking the city in retaliation for the deaths of their fathers, the Seven Against Thebes …   Wikipedia

  • Alcmaeon of Croton — (6th c. BC) A younger contemporary of Pythagoras, and known as a physician. He is supposed to have recognized the brain as the seat of consciousness, a view accepted by Plato on the grounds that the highest faculty should be seated in the highest …   Philosophy dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.